IMT Des Moines Marathon

IMT Des Moines Marathon
Join Us At The Finish Line!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Course Annoucement!

New scenery and new distances are ahead for participants in this year’s IMT Des Moines Marathon, organizers announced today.

The IMT Des Moines Marathon and Half Marathon, Principal 5K Road Race and the Bankers Trust Marathon Relay will all run on new routes this year, due to the start of construction on downtown Des Moines bridges. “We tried to keep the parts of the courses that people liked best,” race director Chris Burch said, including the Drake Blue Oval on the Marathon course. “But at the same time, this was an opportunity to incorporate the Capitol grounds and some new neighborhoods. We’ve also added a little bit of a challenge.” The Marathon and Half Marathon will both see new changes in elevation, with a stretch dubbed the “Capitol Climb.”

All four races will begin and end at a somewhat familiar spot: Cowles Commons. “This was our start/finish line back when it was Nollen Plaza,” Burch said. “We’re excited to try out the open, renovated space.”

The IMT Des Moines Marathon and Half Marathon, Principal 5K Road Race and the Bankers Trust Marathon Relay all take place on Sunday, October 16. Full course maps are available at

Organizers also announced a new slate of events to take place on Saturday, October 15. Mercy Medical Center will sponsor Mercy Field Day, to include the 5-mile Mercy Live Up Loop, Mercy Children’s Hospital & Clinics Junior Jog for kids and many other family activities. Mercy Field Day will be centered at Principal Park.

Find a complete race weekend schedule or register for any of the IMT Des Moines Marathon events at

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Ten Reasons Why You Should Run the IMT Des Moines Marathon

My family after the IMT DMM in 2015.

10. Free stuff after the race! My food and drink experience at the IMT DMM these last few years has been amazing. Vendors with chocolate milk, beer, water, beer (did I say that already?), pizza, cookies, peanut butter on a spoon, fruit, sandwiches, granola bars...the list goes on and on... Oh and last year they even had vendors passing out food to spectators. How great is that?! No joke- several vendors walked around and gave out sub sandwiches to everyone. As a mom with three young kids cheering her on, this helped out tremendously!

9. You can run two races in one weekend! Yes, as many of you know you can complete the I-35 Challenge, by running a half or full on Saturday in Kansas City and then another half or full in Des Moines on the Sunday of that same weekend. However if you want to run two races on the same weekend but in the same city, you can register to run the IMT DMM Mercy Live Up Loop, which is a 5 mile run on Saturday and then choose a 5K, half or full on Sunday.

8. Guess what? The Junior Jog (kids run) is on Saturday, the day before the 5K, half or full. This is great for parents who want to enjoy a family "running" experience. I have always wished that my kids could run the "kids fun run" option with me at most of the races I particpate in, but these are always held at the same time as my run. The IMT DMM has you covered by holding the Junior Jog the day before! How awesome is that?!

7. The registration fees are really, very affordable. Right now (until April 18th), you can register for the full marathon for only $73.00. And, as the price increases in April and July, the highest fee is still under $100. That truly is a good value. If you run races, you know it is often the fees that sometimes dissuade us runners from registering. The half is currently only $58 and never goes higher than $68. You can even run the two IMT DMM Mercy Live Up Loop option for as little as $44 right now!

6. The expo rocks. By far, the best exposition/packet pick up I have ever attended. There are so many vendors, advertisers, companies, organizations and other races with booths and lots of free stuff to hand out. Deep discounts on merchandise and other race registrations are very easy to find. Plan on spending at least an hour browsing the exposition after you very quickly and efficiently pick up your packet. Last year there were guest speakers presenting during the expo, one I listened to for a few minutes was an ultramarathon runner. Wow, incredible stuff.

Outside the expo in 2014.

5. Pasta. Really- need I say more? The Saturday night of race weekend there is a pasta dinner, very affordable and you can bring the whole family. A great way to meet other runners and carb load.

4. So I don't like to admit it, but sometimes I run races for the cool shirts. The IMT DMM has included in the registration fee pretty awesome long sleeve, dry-fit pullovers both years I have participated. I get compliments all the time on mine. It isn't some cotton t-shirt that you will never wear again- these shirts are wonderful. I wear mine weekly. I love how they state your distance on the back too, and are color coordinated for whether you ran the half or the full that year. Very cool IMT DMM, very cool. I also heard that there are training shirts available on their website this year too! I need to get my hands on one of those!

In my awesome race swag!

3. Technology savvy. Not only is the #IMTDMM active on Twitter, Facebook, Blogspot, Instagram and has a really great website, but the race has a wonderful App that you can put on your mobile device. It shows you where your runner is while they run, has route maps, gives you your race results afterward, and has several other cool functions. Follow this race on social media and over the next few months you will get a lot of good information about route changes, guest speakers, price increase dates, discount codes, etc.

2. Supportive. This is the most supportive race I have ever, ever run. There are volunteers during and after the race that truly make this experience what it is. From complete strangers cheering you on by your first name (yes they put your first name on your bib!) to helping you figure out where the Gatorade, water and GU stands are. If you have ever run a distance race you know that sometimes after a long run you can get a little disoriented. There are lots and lots of volunteers on hand to help guide you to get your finisher medal, move you through the stations afterward, find first aid or massages, point out the free nutrition and hydration vendors, and really are just there to answer any questions that you might have.

1. You could run for free! Ahem... My giveaway of TWO race entries ends at midnight on April 11th, so you still have several days to enter. You can enter multiple times on multiple days... so what are you waiting for?! Enter this awesome giveaway! Even if you don't win one of the free race entries, a few other lucky entrants will win free race swag. See the giveaway at the top of my website to enter.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Big 3000 Follower Giveaway: Free IMTDMM Marathon, Half, 5 Mile or 5K Race Entries & Swag!

Last month I noticed that I was getting close to 3000 Twitter followers, which is quite a milestone for just one year of MamaGottaRun. I was so excited that I decided to offer another awesome giveaway to celebrate! The last giveaway I offered was a couple of free race entries, and my Tweeps seemed to love it, so I thought I'd try to offer race entries again. Hoping to find a donation from one of my favorite races, I jumped onto the IMT Des Moines Marathon Twitter page and saw that they too were right around 3000 followers, perfect! When I approached the IMTDMM it was an easy sell. They were gracious enough to offer two race entries (full, half, 5 mile or 5K- your choice!) and swag to two additional winners, so 4 prizes! This year the races are on October 16, 2016. Please see the Rafflecopter at (starts Monday, March 28), but hurry and come back often as the giveaway ends 4/11/2016.

This giveaway is particularly special to me because the IMTDMM was my very first marathon in 2014 and last year they invited me to be a guest blogger on their official blog for them as I ran the IMTDMM half in 2015. This year I will be training to run the full marathon again, so I am really excited to offer these prizes and hopefully get to meet some of you on the start line!

Recent training. Although for a different half I have next month, the miles
will kick-start me as I begin training for the IMTDMM full coming this fall.

I absolutely love the IMT DMM races. As I said, I have run both the full and the half, and both times have been an amazing experience for me. I blogged about both race experiences here and here and am excited to start blogging about my training for my 2016 experience. Last year I posted several articles on the IMTDMM official blog that will help you understand why I love this race so much. Not only is it in my home state of Iowa so I always have family to cheer me on as I run it, but last year my brother even ran the half with me- his very first half marathon. The medals, the course, the option of the I-35 Challenge (two races in one weekend), the amazing food venders, but more than anything the IMTDMM is the most supportive race I have ever run. So many incredble volunteers and spectators cheer on complete strangers as they run the course... the race director does an excellent job of making sure the whole package comes together wonderfully.

Me running the full in 2014.

My 4:19 finish in 2014. I am hoping for closer to 4:00 this year.

Running the half in 2015 with my brother who completed
his very first half marathon that day!

Last year, 2015, when I completed the I-35 Challenge (two
half marathons in one weekend, Kansas City and Des Moines).

Okay, so how do you enter to win these free race entries and awesome swag? It is so easy! On the top of this website there is a Rafflecopter. You simply complete a few easy tasks of your choice, such as visit the IMTDMM Facebook page, 'Like" us both and Tweet about the giveaway, as well as a few other options, and you're entered! Some of the entry options you can even complete daily, meaning that you can get even more entries into the drawing. When the drawing ends, Rafflecopter with randomly draw winners from the entries and then I will personally notify winners via email and tell them how they can collect their prizes. The Rafflecopter will run for two weeks and the only stipulation for winners is that they must use the free race entry themselves (no gifting it to someone else). Remember you can decide what race distance you want to enter (full, half, 5 mile or 5K). And that's it! 

On your mark, get set, go! I will post again next week with more details about the race, such as price increase dates, the race weekend events, route maps and anything else I can pass along.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Winter Running Blues

Winter is here. Although we have yet see much snow in the Midwest, the cold temperatures and frosty ground are upon us. I am not sure about you but this is the time of year when I struggle to get out of bed in the morning to run, knowing that the temperature outside is going to be sub 30 degrees. 

But winter running doesn't have to mean a cut in your miles. There are some tips and tricks that can help you overcome those cold days.

1. Dress appropriately. Although you want to dress with more warm layers due to the chilly air, don't overdress. After a mile or two your heart rate will increase, you will start to sweat, and you will get too warm too quickly if you have too many layers on. You really don't need more than one layer of long sleeves until the temperature is lower than 40 degrees. I add a layer of long sleeves every 10 degrees after that. At freezing (32 degrees) you will want gloves for your fingers and a hat to cover your ears.
2. Try running later in the day. This is tricky if your work or family schedule isn't flexible, but it is usually a good 10 or more degrees warmer later in the day. If you can, try running in the early afternoon or early evening.
3. Stay hydrated. Even though you are out in the cold, you will still sweat. You will need to replenish your fluids just like you would on a warm day.
4. Be mindful of your steps. Choose shoes that have grips; you can even buy not so attractive grippers that you can adhere to your running shoes if you like. The grass, road and sidewalks are much more slippery so a fall will be more apt to happen and if it does, the ground is now frozen so the landing will hurt more.
5. Stay positive. When you do get out there to run, appreciate the little things. Look for the gleaming reflection of the sun on icicles, try to admire a gorgeous sunset or sunrise, or even take a few moments to simply count the bird nests that are now visible with the disappearance of leaves from the trees. It may be cold outside, but it is still beautiful out there.

So there you have it. If you do slack on a few runs due to the colder weather, don't be too hard on yourself. Winter season is a downtime for most runners and there aren't as many races to register for anyway. Don't give up; just get back out there as soon as you can.

What do you do to stay motivated in the winter to run? What tips or tricks do you have? Comment below, I'd love to read your ideas!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Did Someone Say Two Half Marathons In One Weekend? Yes Please!

Double the bibs and double the hardware.

I'm the kind of person who likes to set running goals in order to keep herself motivated and focused. I register for races early, tell the world my plans so that I have to hold myself accountable, and then I start training (posting on social media every step of the way). When that race is over, I set a new goal and repeat the process.

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy running, a lot, but a runner is lying if they tell you that they have never been in a running rut. To keep things fresh, I like to set what I call a "big" race goal for myself each year. A few years ago I decided to run a half marathon. Last year I decided to run my first full marathon. This year I went "half" crazy and decided to run two half marathons- in ONE weekend! Yes, I accepted and completed the I-35 Challenge by running two races that are literally located in cities along Interstate 35, during the same weekend. It was a few days ago and it was just as amazing as it sounds.

For the last four months I have been training for this challenge the best I could. I searched and searched online, talked to some runners I know, but couldn't find a true "Two Halfs In One Weekend" training plan anywhere. After thinking about how I run and what it would take for me to be prepared to run back-to-back halfs, I came up with a training plan. I am proud to say that I came close to following it almost exactly, and it worked well in helping me to be prepared physically and mentally for the challenge. I felt totally ready.

Basically I ran about 25-35 miles per week varying the length of the runs from 5 to 8 miles most of the time. For the last several months (prior to this last month) I also ran two back-to-back longer-ish runs every other weekend, like two 8s, 9s, 10s or 11s. And then this last month I ran a few 8s and 10s, but focused more on shorter, much faster runs, as I really wanted to PR my first of the two races. I wasn't sure how sore I would be after running my heart out trying to PR, so my goal for the second half marathon was to just finish respectably.

The smile of a new PR!

The first of the two races was the Waddell & Reed Kansas City Marathon, half marathon option.  My husband ran with me, it was his very first race ever- let alone his first half marathon! He is naturally faster than me so I knew he would push me and help me PR. We figured that we had to get about 8:45 average pace for me to PR. We actually blew that out of the water with an 8:35 pace, and finished in 1:52.22. My previous best was 1:55.49 back in the 2014; so I ended up shaving almost 3 1/2 minutes off my previous best. I was stoked!

After the dust settled we showered, we picked up the kiddos from my sister's house, drove along I-35 to Des Moines, picked up my IMT DMM race packet at the Iowa Events Center, checked into the hotel and got ready for round two the next morning.

As the day wound down and the evening rolled in, several factors started to make me second guess my decision to run another half the next day. I started to get a horrendous cold and sore throat with a fever, aches and chills. I couldn't sleep because I was nervous my alarm wouldn't go off and I was sharing a bed with several kiddos- one of which was a 3-year-old that insisted on kicking me in the head all night. My cortisone shot from my torn rotator cuff (surgery planned for this December, yuck) still hadn't kicked in, and after running as fast as I could earlier in the day, my shoulder hurt- a lot. And to top it all off, I weirdly locked us out of our hotel room with my race gear inside earlier in the day and it took several hotel staff and a bent hanger to get us back in the room. Oh and how could I forget that it was only 30 degrees outside on the morning of the race? Icing on the cake was how sore my body was when I woke up from after the Kansas City marathon the day before. My legs literally felt like tree trunks.

It never crossed my mind NOT to do the challenge, but I definitely dreaded getting up that morning. This was the very first time I had ever woken up race morning not super pumped to run. Before the race started, standing out in the freezing temps with aches and chills, legs and feet screaming with soreness, I definitely didn't feel much excitement. But that did change, as my inspiration to stay on course was my little brother. He had agreed to run the IMT DMM leg of the I-35 Challenge with me, even though he had never run a race of any distance before.

When I looked over at my brother at the starting line, standing beside me, chatting with complete strangers, laughing, cracking jokes, jumping around to keep warm, things started to change for me. He was just the most excited I had seen him in, well, maybe ever. THAT changed something in my mind. I decided not to worry about my pace, the distance, my aches... I decided to just run with him. He was so very excited just to be running his very first race, ever, and I remember that wonderful feeling.

After a few miles I no longer noticed the aches and pains or the freezing cold; I only noticed how awesome it was to run and cheer my brother on along the route. Honestly, I lost track of the miles most of the time and just ran. I didn't worry about anything- I just ran.

I ended up having so much fun and getting so much enjoyment out of it.

Both races complete!

Eventually, we got to the end. And I DID IT! I ran TWO HALF MARATHONS IN ONE WEEKEND! It was incredible. I am so glad I did it. What an accomplishment!

You know what? We did pretty good too. I still finished in the top 25% of all women with our 2:06 time. Not too shabby for the girl always picked last in gym class.

Since training, Tweeting and blogging for the IMT DMM blog, I have met many runners online that were doing the I-35 Challenge too. Some ran one full and one half, some ran two halfs like me, and some "full" crazy ones even ran two fulls in one weekend.

I have to say that I am inspired.

I think.. I think... that I could challenge myself to run even more next year. I mean, I ran my two halfs this weekend with a torn rotator cuff and a really awful cold, sore throat and cough- among other obstacles... just think of what else I can do?!

I am sensing a new goal for 2016 coming on... :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

IMT DMM Recap: A Chilly Start to an Incredible Finish

My lil brother and I before the chilly start Sunday.

This past weekend my hard work over the last several months came to fruition when I crossed the finish line of the IMT DMM half marathon. Last year I completed the full marathon in Des Moines and immediately knew that I wanted to come back again. This year, however, the IMT DMM half marathon was my goal, as it was the second half marathon I ran this weekend. Yep, that's right: two halfs in one weekend. Finishing the IMT DMM half meant that I completed the I-35 Challenge by running the Waddell & Reed Kansas City half marathon on Saturday and the IMT DMM half marathon on Sunday.

Around mile 9.

This year I took a different approach to the race. Since I had planned to PR on Saturday in Kansas City during that half (which I did, 1:52:22, IN THE TOP 8% OF ALL WOMEN! Yay!), I decided that I just wanted to more leisurely run on Sunday and serve as a support system for my brother who ran with me, to complete his very first half marathon. I am so glad I kept with my plan because it felt absolutely amazing to cheer my brother on, push him forward and support him as he ran his first half.

I will admit that this was difficult initially. I had never run a half without the goal of running my fastest and pushing myself as hard as I could, so the first few miles I kept finding myself running too fast too early on for our collective pace, and I was automatically setting my brain to competition mode. Around mile 4 or 5 my lil bro started to need some pacing adjustments and moral support so I quickly switched gears and put on my cheerleading shoes. After I let him set our pace I started to actually enjoy myself more than I thought possible (while running a distance race, that is!).

This was only my second time at the event, but once again the IMT DMM did not disappoint. The route for the half quickly split from the full marathoners and took us to what would be the end of the full marathon route. I absolutely loved this because I could reminisce over memories I had had at different mile markers from last year. I remembered the place around mile 19 that I saw my family and children cheering me on. In fact, my brother came to cheer me on last year and that is what had inspired him to run this year.

I saw the spot, near mile 22, when I hit a serious wall but then had seen my favorite sign, "For all the girls picked last in gym class" and I recalled how those words got me through the slump. I remember that long bridge around mile 23 or 24 and how I cried like a little baby while on it, thinking about how I had almost finished a marathon, something I trained so hard for last year. I saw mile 25 where my husband had been standing while he had cheered his loudest to help me push through that last difficult mile...

I have chills and tears of nostalgia just thinking about it.

I love the IMT DMM for so many reasons (and it's not only because they always have the coolest participant shirts!). First and foremost, Iowa has the best people. Just like last year, the spectators and volunteers were once again amazing. I love the route because you are closer to the spectators than in other races I've done so they can give you high fives, tissues, power poster punches, and can read your name on your bib and cheer you on personally. This is definitely the most supportive group of strangers I have ever experienced in a race.

Oh and I love the race route; you travel through both urban and rural areas and other than a few small hills early on, it is a pretty flat route (I know, I know, it's Iowa, right?). I joked above, but I do love the shirts too. If you are a runner, you probably have several race shirts sitting around your house that don't get much use. The IMT DMM tech long-sleeved shirt will not be one of those. I LOVED my shirt last year and was so pumped to get the same style in a different color this year. As far as participant shirts go, they are really, really nice.

I also wanted to say how wonderful the expo at the Iowa Events Center is and how plentiful the race packets are. So many races don't actually put anything in your race packets anymore- but not the IMT DMM! Mine was overflowing with goodies and samples of lotions, vitamins, snacks, discounts, and more... and that's just the actual race packet. There was a virtual race packet, full of great deals and discounts, emailed out to us too.

The medals are just fine. Heavy and solid with large colorful neck straps, but they probably aren't the reason you run this race. But EVERYTHING else is. Even the food after the race is awesome. In addition to all the free food and drinks for the athletes, Jimmy Johns was walking around giving out free subs to spectators! As a mom with three young kiddos there cheering her on, free food was a nice distraction for them.

Just before the finish line.

So if you are wondering how we did... Not bad! My brother and I finished at the exact same time and it felt amazing to cross the finish line with him, knowing just how hard he had pushed himself those last 3 miles to get there. We finished in 2:06.14 (9:39 pace) which was very respectable for my brother's very first half marathon. Our overall place was 2067 of 5380 all half marathoners. Even though I wasn't concerned about placing or my finish results this time, I did place 183/487, or still in the top 25% for my division (age 30-34). All in all we did a great job!

MapMyRun Splits

We did it!

So the big question is... Will I run it again next year? I'd definitely like too! I am even, and I might regret typing this out loud, considering accepting the I-35 challenge again next year... but possibly running both full marathons???? Yikes, I don't know. That is a lot of training and a lot of dedication, so I will have to get back to you on that one. I was just so surprised by how much fun running two halfs in one weekend was... Not sure if I'd feel that way after two fulls though...

Our amazing support team!

There are a few Thank You's that need to go out. My husband, who not only ran the Waddell and Reed Half with me and is the reason I PR's on Saturday, but who then hauled our kids to Iowa that same afternoon (when he probably would have preferred an ice bath) and helped me get ready for my race the next day. My sister and her family, my parents and my brother and his girlfriend too. It is truly incredible to look at these pictures and see how many people came to cheer us on.

I also have some pretty supportive fans on Facebook and friends in my life that inspire and motivate me to run, and to write about my running on Mamagottarun.

A final thank you to the IMT DMM blog for allowing me to post training updates these last three months, and for helping me to connect with so many fellow Iowa, Kansas, KC and I-35 Challenge runners on Twitter. It was awesome talking with some of you in person and even more of you online these last few months!

What a fun weekend. I'm a little sad it's over, but that only means that it's time to start planning for my next running adventure.

Here's to next year- who's with me? Comment below!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The I-35 Challenge Is Just a Few Days Away!

I am getting so pumped for this weekend! It's finally here! This Saturday and Sunday I am completing the I-35 Challenge, by running one half marathon (13.1 miles) on both days (26.2) total. I have run a marathon before, but I think it will be a different experience running two significant distances on back-to-back days.

I was so lucky to have the support of friends and family as I worked to accomplish this goal. Not only has my husband, Josh, watched the kids while I trained, but I have watched the kids for him as he trained too... Yes that's right! He will be running the Kansas City half marathon leg of the I-35 Challenge on Saturday morning with me. I am so proud of him- this is his first half marathon and he has worked so hard to get his practice runs in. He has improved his pace, his endurance, and he is ready to go.

I am also proud of my brother, Nick, who will be running the Des Moines leg of the I-35 Challenge with me the following day, on Sunday. This is his first half marathon. He has been battling injury and has a busy travel/work schedule but has continued to push through and train and he feels ready and is confident he will finish. 

It is exciting to think that I will be running alongside family when I run these races. Normally I run alone in races. Other than the few times when my husband and I have been kid-free for a day or two and run a few casual miles around the neighborhood I have never run with him. And I have never run with my brother before at all. I am excited to feel the encouragement from them and the accomplishment of doing this together. I am a little nervous because I feel like both of these guys are faster than me and I hope it doesn't throw off my pacing. Hopefully it will be a motivator to keep pushing so I can PR on Saturday. My goal is to average 8:40s on Saturday and 9:00 is fine for Sunday.

Well, wish me luck! If you want to follow me while I run (or anyone else you know who is running in either of these races) you can do so at: 

I can't speak for the KC marathon/half marathon, but when I ran the IMT DMM last year it was incredible. The beautiful route, the amazingly supportive spectators, the energy... I knew immediately afterward the IMT DMM event would be something I would run again. This time I am running the half, but I anticipate just as much enjoyment.

Wish me luck! Connect with me on Twitter @mamagottarun so we can say hello!

I'd love to hear what you loved most about your previous half and full marathons. The spectators? A memorable sign? A route? A race packet goodie? Comment below.

Crossing the IMT DMM
finish line last year.